Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Is John Boehner really the most “do-nothing” Speaker of the House in history?

Friday, June 12th, 2015

gavel1As we look at John Boehner and what he has accomplished as speaker, or rather not accomplished, I believe he is the most “do-nothing” Speaker of the House in history. Recently he opened the 114th Congress by using more taxpayer dollars to call for the repeal of Obamacare/Affordable Care Act…again, for the 56th time!

Is Boehner right? Should Obamacare/ACA be repealed? Maybe. However, in the five years the Republicans have had to work on a replacement or suggestions for the ACA, they have come up with nothing but a nine page document that neither funds healthcare nor tells how many people it would serve.

Some facts Boehner should consider:

Fact 1: Millions of Americans have signed up for the ACA. If repealed, millions would lose their health insurance. Any serious illness would cause many people to face bankruptcy or death because of lack of care.

Fact 2: Insurance companies are for the ACA because their profits have increased substantially since it was signed into law. In addition, hospitals that were going bankrupt because people couldn’t pay their bills are now becoming more financially stable.

Fact 3: Many Republican governors are beginning to see the value of supporting the Medicaid Expansion and the ACA.

Some facts voters should consider:

Fact 1: Prior to the passage of the ACA, (December 10, 2008) Boehner bought numerous health insurance company stocks, including tens of thousands of dollars in Cardinal Health, Cigna, and Wellpoint, according to Peter Schweitzer, author of Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism that Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison. Boehner also purchased shares in the Big Pharm companies Amgen, Johnson & Johnson, Forest Labs, Covidien, and Pfizer.” At least two of those stocks — Cardinal Health and Wellpoint — are up over 100 percent since Boehner’s investment. Pfizer is up over 50 percent. None of the stocks is down.[1] This “insider trading” was considered illegal, but Congress struck down that law for them.

Fact 2: He has voted to repeal the ACA numerous times, tried to sue Obama when ACA was not implemented fast enough and now is threatening to sue Obama again.

Fact 3: As leader of the House, he has not shown that he can lead. Boehner cannot bring his caucus together nor get any reasonable legislation passed. The Republicans continue to fight amongst themselves while the far right extremists inadvertently destroy the Party; and therefore our country’s two-party democracy.

Fact 4: Instead of sending a good budget to the Senate, Boehner sent a bill to secure our homeland with amendments that he knows won’t pass the Senate nor be signed by Obama. Through these actions he is jeopardizing our national security.

Fact 5: With Congress’ approval rating at 13 percent, his legacy is being tarnished by his continual groveling to lobbyists and rich donors, his total disregard for his Ohio constituents, and disregard for the needs of the country.

Fact 6: Boehner frequently golfs with lobbyists, and sleeps in a plush two-bedroom apartment rented for him by John Milne, a Beltway lobbyist. He has shown he will do anything to win an election and retain his position as speaker.[2]

Fact 7: He recently invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu to address Congress behind President Obama’s back. Boehner’s actions were out of line and could provoke a rift between Israel and America. While both Israel and the U.S. are opposed to the visit, it is still scheduled.

Fact 8: Boehner continues to say: “I’m not qualified to debate the science over climate change…But, I am astute enough to understand that every proposal that has come out of this administration to deal with climate change involves hurting our economy and killing American jobs.”[3] 98% of scientist disagrees.

Fact 9: A true effort put towards reversing the effects of climate change and global warming would increase jobs, decrease unemployment, and help the American economy. Building wind farms, doing research to discover new energy sources, etc. are just some of the ways jobs would be created.

Fact 10: Boehner along with other Republicans continue to block funding to rebuild our infrastructure. By blocking the funding, they are actually costing Americans good paying jobs while making the US less competitive in the world market. Republicans do not like to raise taxes but, as elected officials, the Republicans need to put what’s best for the country in front of their party mantra. A small gas tax would fund this project, not increase the deficit, and put millions to work.

Fact 11: In Boehner’s state of Ohio:

  • 42% of Ohio’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
  • Driving on roads in need of repair costs Ohio motorists $1.685 billion      per year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs – $212 per motorist.
  • 9.1% of Ohio bridges are      considered structurally deficient.
  • 15.9% of Ohio bridges are      considered functionally obsolete.
  • 45% of Ohio’s major urban      highways are congested      resulting in wasted time and additional fuel costs for motorists.[4]

You’ve now read through a series of facts. Did Ohio make the right choice when they elected Boehner? Is he really serving the people? Or, Is John Boehner really the most “do-nothing” Speaker of the House in history?

As a “Speaker of the House” is he helping our country by revisiting the same issues over and over rather than moving forward? As a “Speaker of the House” is he helping the country by trying to sue a two time elected President multiple times? As a “Speaker of the House” is he helping by interfering in world affairs? As a “Speaker of the House” is he helping by holding on to old Republican ideas rather than creating progressive ones?

We the people must demand more of our elected officials. We must vote for candidates that will work together and move our country forward rather than hold it back. Until then, expect more of the same from Boehner and his colleagues.



[1] BOMBSHELL: John Boehner Busted in Major Corruption Scandal, Conservative Tribune, January 6, 2015

[2] The Crying Shame of John Boehner: He’s a lazy, double-talking shill for corporate interests. So how’s he going to fare with the Tea Party?,Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stones, January 5, 2011, http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/matt-taibbi-the-crying-shame-of-john-boehner-20110105#ixzz3Qtbd3xVP

[4] 2013 Report Cart for America’s Infrastructure, Current Condition of Ohio Highways, Roads and Bridges, Ohio Roads & Bridges, Ohio construction Information Administration,  http://ocianews.com/ohio-roads-bridges/

 

Mitch McConnell, Really!

Friday, June 12th, 2015

oldman1Mitch McConnell failed on his pledge to make Obama a one-term president, but he did succeed in obstructing the passage of many bills that would have grown the economy and helped the American people. Since 2007, McConnell has used the filibuster 413 times as minority leader. Despite the Republican Party’s roadblocks, our economy has been growing: there has been declining unemployment, lower gas prices, a soaring stock market, and a decreasing deficit.  McConnell, however, credits these accomplishments to the newly elected Republicans even though they have only been in office for a few weeks. Really Mitch!

Due to poor voter turnout the Republicans took control of both houses and McConnell finally got the power he so desperately craved. He savors his new title: majority leader of the Senate. Now he has the chance to use his power to show Americans that he can lead, govern, and accomplish things as Harry Reid did. Now he has the chance to work together with Obama and live up to his campaign promises of compromise and moving America forward.  Unfortunately, his actions are proving otherwise.

Mitch immediately started to chip away at women’s reproductive rights, to take healthcare away from the needy, to oppose raising the minimum wage, to continue to gut voters’ rights, to dismiss immigration reform, to repeal bank regulations, and to contest jobs bills and infrastructure repairs.

He, like many Republicans, still wants to keep their own constituents from getting healthcare, while Congress enjoys a “Cadillac” policy. Even though Kentucky Governor Beshear has confirmed that more than 500,000 residents have taken advantage of Kynect, the healthcare program funded by the ACA (or Obamacare), McConnell blatantly lied to voters saying they could keep Kynect even if he repealed the ACA. His hatred for Obama far exceeds his love of his fellow Kentuckians.

Mitch also wants to take away Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, a livable wage, and veteran benefits. Why doesn’t he want to help the poor and close the growing income gap amongst the American people? Unlike most employees, Congress sets their own salary, raises, vacations, and job description, rather than their bosses — the voters.

If he and other Republicans think a family can live on the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which amounts to approximately $15,000 a year for a fulltime worker, then I suggest we cut their pay to that amount. Think of all the money the country would have if Congress and their staff all made just $7.25 an hour?

In addition, McConnell continues to block infrastructure policies that even include fixing disastrous roads and dangerous bridges in his own state. He is preventing millions from working. Instead he supports the construction of the Keystone Pipeline with full knowledge that it is environmentally dangerous, doesn’t create but a handful of jobs, and the U.S. doesn’t even get the oil. The country takes on all of the risks with the pipeline, but none of the rewards. The rewards go to individual oil and gas lobbyists, oil barons like the Koch Brothers, and senators like McConnell.

Furthermore, Mitch doesn’t support theories on climate change because in his words, “he is not a scientist.” He chooses not to read briefs on the climate, listen to reports from meteorologists, or watch the extreme weather patterns that are currently emerging. In a recent study, more than 10,800 scientists said that the global warming we are experiencing is manmade. Two disagreed. The Republican Congress, Mitch, and the potential Republican presidential candidates’ actions (or rather inaction), all support big oil as opposed to our planet, ocean life, and drinking water.

Mitch McConnell told the voters he would compromise on the campaign trail but, has not budged since he has been elected. Instead of embracing and building on Obama’s policies, where the U.S. has experienced 58 months of continued economic growth, Mitch wants to revert back to the policies under George W. Bush. Has he forgotten that those policies collapsed our economy?

Like many Republicans, Mitch disregards the wishes of those who put him in office. They gerrymander districts, suppress voting rights, and continue to support Citizen United rather than repeal it. These steps insure their continued reelection and the flow of unlimited campaign funds from a few billionaires.

Due to poor voter turnout in 2014, the Republicans took control of both houses. In 2016, if Democrats stay home and do not come out to vote, they might lose the Presidency too.

 

Republicans Control both Houses of Congress; Democrats the Presidency: So What Does the Future Hold?

Friday, June 12th, 2015

capitol1After the 2008 election, Republicans vowed to do everything to obstruct President Obama and keep anything he supported from passing. When they lost again in 2012, they doubled down on this philosophy. Unfortunately for the country, this strategy, coupled with falsehoods about Democratic programs and the Democrats cowardly showing in 2014, Republicans now control both the House and the Senate.

The question facing Republicans now is what to do with this power. If they continue their obstruction and do nothing, they will not be able to shift the blame to Obama and the Democrats. If they yield to their conservative base, Obama will veto whatever they propose and two more years will pass with nothing being accomplished. If they work with Obama, their conservative base will rebel causing internal turmoil and damage to their brand going into the 2016 election.

On the other hand, the Democrats have to prove to their once loyal base, that they still stand for middle class values, job creation and strong financial reform. Their quietness in 2014 and lack of support for their president was a huge tactical error. As Obama angers the Republicans by passing immigration reform, opening diplomatic relations with Cuba and maybe vetoing the Keystone Pipeline, the Republicans have to prove they have workable ideas that will create jobs, improve the economy for everyone and that they can govern and get things done.

Thus far, they haven’t done that. The Republicans are once again trying to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. They want to dismantle ACA funding, and are again attacking women’s health and choice issues. They plan to greatly reduce Homeland funding, except to send more troops to the border and deport all undocumented people. They want to cut the NASA budget to unworkable levels, have put no women in charge of any committees in Congress except administration, and want to again deregulate Wall Street so that taxpayers are on the hook for risky behavior, rather than the banks and brokers.  And they say, “This is the new Republican Party.” So what are they doing that is new and different? NOTHING. They continue to block, obstruct, lay off, deregulate, deprive the needy while assisting the wealthy, and pass nothing of significance like infrastructure measures or job bills.

To win the White House in 2016, each party needs a good candidate. While there are dozens being talked about in the Republican Party, only a couple would probably put up much of a fight. A total conservative like Ted Cruz or a bully like Chris Christie will only attract extremists, not a majority. Mitt Romney is a two-time loser; Rick Perry had an embarrassingly poor showing in 2012; and Jeb Bush has to disassociate himself from his very unpopular brother, and show that another Bush in the White House would not create a dynasty.

Rand Paul has to attract enough conservative voters to get through a primary. Marco
Rubio wants to be president, but his wishy-washy ways have endeared him to very few Floridians, let alone other states. Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum want to turn the government into a theocracy, not a democracy.  Donald Trump thinks he would be a great president, but he is in a very small minority who believe that.

Scott Walker might be a good candidate if labor unions don’t organize against him and the deficit he has grown in his own state with his radical ideas aren’t seen as a big negative. Dr. Ben Carson would like to be president, but the Republicans nominating a black man is highly unlikely.

Fearing Hillary Clinton will top the Democratic ticket, the Republicans have scrambled to come up with some potential female candidates such as Kelly Ayotte, Jan Brewer and Nikki Haley.

While Hillary will most likely be the Democratic nominee, Bernie Sanders is thinking of running as well. His middle class values, outspoken commonsense and experience will capture a lot of attention from far left Democrats, especially if he added Elizabeth Warren to the ticket.

With all those possibilities still pending, I have a couple of words of wisdom for both parties.

To Republicans: show the American people you can get things done that help them. Don’t block Obama, but find ways to compromise with him without adding unpassable amendments to otherwise good legislature. In other words, show some leadership, do your job and govern.

To Democrats: stand up for your values and with your president. Right now, I think the Democrats are broken, don’t stand for much, and are afraid of everything. My advice is to demonstrate a strong backbone, hold the Republicans accountable for their actions or inactions, and give Democrats a reason to vote in 2016.

What is America? A Republic? A Democracy? An Oligarchy? A Plutocracy? A Theocracy?

Friday, June 12th, 2015

constitution2I’m not sure what America’s form of government is anymore but, it is definitely not a democracy.

A Democracy provides every legal citizen of a certain age with the free and equal right to participate in a system of government that elects representatives of the people by the majority of the people, who promise to do the will of the people.

The Electoral College, gerrymandering, photo IDs and other voter suppression tactics are just some of the practices that keep America from being a democracy. In Bush vs Gore, the Supreme Court gave the election to Bush even though Gore received more than a half million more popular votes. When the person receiving the most votes isn’t the winner of the election, then that country is not a democracy.

A Republic is a form of government in which power resides with the people, and the government is ruled by elected leaders who govern according to laws designed to help citizens. If we believe this definition, then we are not a Republic because our elected leaders no longer rule by law or by what their constituents want. Instead, our officials rule by the wishes of corporations and billionaires.

An Oligarchy is a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes. Some American politicians seem to want this form of government. After the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United, the United States became a country where money replaced free speech and corporations replaced people. Today, average people have less rights and less control over their government. While big corporations and wealthy donors, along with Wall Street, are free to influence elections, write legislation and destroy our country for their own selfish and greedy interests.

America appears to be headed in the direction of Plutocracy. This form of government believes a society should be ruled by its wealthiest members. The Supreme Court has allowed a flood of money to buy our elections, rather than the will of the people. Income inequality is growing, the middle class is disappearing, and Republicans continue to block raising the minimum wage for hard working Americans. Women don’t make equal pay for equal work, and CEOs make insane compensation, while workers are pushed for greater productivity for less money. The rich are getting richer, while the poor are barely living paycheck to paycheck.

A Theocracy is a government ruled by or subject to religious authority. If those on the conservative right get their way, they will destroy the very foundation our ancestors died for. Our country was based on freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. But the recent Hobby Lobby case has blurred those lines. The Koch Brothers and others are funding local elections to school boards in order to establish a creationism curriculum vs an evolution or scientific explanation. They want their religious beliefs to be the basis for our laws and government.

Socialism is
an economic concept that advocates public ownership of all resources. The Republicans have accused President Obama of creating a socialist society. But by definition, that is false. Even the Affordable Care Act is not government owned, and is supported by independent insurance companies that are publically owned by shareholders, not the government. The government doesn’t own the resources in this country, private enterprises do. The government does play a role in our society by providing security (police, fire, military), infrastructure (roads and bridges), and education (pre-k thru 12th grade) for all children but, that is not socialism. It is just governing effectively and doing the job they were elected to do. In the last few Congressional sessions our elected officials failed to do their job and pass any meaningful legislation, but they didn’t fail to collect their government-issued paychecks.

A Welfare state is a concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. While we are not a welfare state, many Americans feel a strong obligation to help the less fortunate with needed assistance such as food stamps, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Many of these programs have been funded by the recipients. The majority of those receiving these benefits are disabled, veterans, the elderly, and the very poor, many of whom work one or more jobs but, still can’t afford necessities and medical care.

How can Americans continue to fight to spread democracy around the world, when much of the Republican agenda is taking freedom away from our own citizens?

I believe America needs to focus on uniting and reclaiming its own democratic form of government, before they impose “American ideology” on others.